By now, the heat is turned down --- it is done automatically --- and it is, by all accounts, time to retire. But I'm not tired yet. In a little over an hour, it will be Christmas Day, not Christmas Eve anymore. I told Shelley I would get up early enough to help her put the turkey in the oven so it's ready to eat around noon. That means I'll be up about six thirty or seven o'clock. Mike said he and Ashley would come around a while before noon. Sometime tomorrow Norman and his kids will be coming by, I think. Possible in the late afternoon or in the evening. We'll see.
It's been quiet tonight here at home in Layton. Kiele and Shelley watched a movie together --- A Night in the Museum, or something like that --- and I listened to a couple of Christmas musical programs on public television --- the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas program, and the Saint Olaf College Christmas program. We could have watched the traditional It's a Wonderful Life, but it's not our favorite. Not by a long shot.
Brent came up to have a bite to eat and fixed something and ate it, and Kacee came up a few minutes later and they sat together and watched some of the movie with Kiele and Shelley. Then they went back downstairs.
Tomorrow is Christmas. I guess it's my sixty-second Christmas --- or is it just my sixty-first? I'm not sure --- it's one or the other, and it's too late to figure it out. The first few I don't remember, in any event, and the ones after that all seem to blur together anyway. It's funny; the memories of my youth aren't that vivid. The easiest memories to recall involve simply looking into the reflections of the Christmas tree decorations and contemplating the magic of the season, the music, and the notion of the Nativity and the life of the Savior.
We'll be going off to West Jordan to visit Amy and her family in the afternoon sometime tomorrow. Amy has to work tomorrow evening.
Christmas is about family.
While I was growing up, Christmas meant opening presents around the tree in the morning and then visiting Grandma and Grandpa Thompson on Christmas Day and seeing my uncles and aunts there at my grandparents' house, along with all of their kids, my cousins. It was always a busy household at Christmas time, or at least it seemed like it was always a busy household to me. That all changed for me when my mother died.
Of course, I was gone when my mother died, but when I got back home things were never the same again relative to visiting my grandparents'. Not with respect to visiting my side of the family, that is. I returned in 1969. That first Christmas back was pretty lonely, as I recall it. Perhaps it was mostly self-imposed, but I remember being alone and not particularly liking it. Then I married in August of 1971, and after that, my family was mostly my wife's family. We spent Christmas with them, and their house was like my grandparents' house: busy and full of brothers and sisters, etc. We would play games and eat and talk. We would usually get over to visit my father, who remarried in January of 1971, but I had changed and, of course, the situation was totally different. For one thing, I was committed to a more religious life than ever took place in my family growing up or in the extended family of my parents that included my grandparents and uncles and aunts and their kids.
In 1974, Shelley and I moved to Illinois. It's difficult to remember exactly when we went out there, but we came home for Christmas, I'm sure of that. We lived out there for a couple of years and then moved to California for about a year --- a little less than that --- and then we moved to Idaho where we lived for six years. Each year at Christmas time, however, no matter where we were, we came home to Utah, and we were welcomed into my wife's parents' home as guests for the holidays.